Taynuilt of the beautiful Scotland


TAYNUILT 9 miles E of Oban on the A85 J Coast to Coast Walk C Bonawe Furnace E Barguillean’s Angus Garden Taynuilt lies close to the shores of Loch Etiven and is on the 128-mile-long Coast to Coast Walk from Oban to St Andrews. Nearby, at Inverawe, is the Bonawe Furnace, which dates from 1753. Ironworking was carried out here for over 100 years, and the furnace made many of the cannonballs used by Nelson’s navy. In 1805, the workers erected a statue to Nelson, the first in Britain, and it can still be seen today near Muchairn Church.

 At Barguillean Farm you will find Barguillean’s Angus Garden, established in 1957 on the shores of Loch Angus. It extends to nine acres, and was created in memory of Angus Macdonald, a journalist who was killed in Cyprus in 1956. LOCH AWE 16 miles E of Oban on the A85 A Kilchurn Castle A St Conan’s Kirk If you take the road east from Dunstaffnage Castle, passing near the shores of Loch Etive and going through the Pass of Brander, you will come to Scotland’s longest loch, Loch Awe. This is its northern shore, and it snakes southwest for a distance of nearly 25½ miles until it almost reaches Kilmartin. Twenty crannogs, or artificial islands, have been discovered in the loch. On them defensive houses were built of wood, with a causeway connecting them to the mainland. They were in use in the Highlands from about 3000BC right up until the 16th century.

 Near the village of Lochawe are the impressive ruins of Kilchurn Castle (Historic Scotland), right on the shores of the loch. It was built by Sir Colin Campbell, who came from a cadet branch of the great Campbell family, in about 1450. They were eventually elevated to the peerage as the Earls of Breadalbane. In the 1680s Sir John Campbell converted the castle into a barracks to house troops fighting the Jacobites. However, it was never used as such. St Conan’s Kirk

, also on the banks of the loch, is reckoned to be one of the most beautiful churches in Scotland, though it dates only from the 1880s, with later additions. It was built by Walter Douglas Campbell, who had a mansion house nearby. The story goes that his mother disliked the long drive to the parish church at Dalmally, so, in 1881, Walter decided to built a church on the shores of Loch Awe. Not only did he commission it, he designed it and carved some of the woodwork. The church was completed in 1887, but it proved too small for him, so in 1907 he began extending it. He died in 1914 before he could complete it, and it was finally finished in its present state in 1930. 

The kirk has a superb chancel, an ambulatory, a nave with a south aisle, various chapels and, curiously for a small church, cloisters. The Bruce Chapel commemorates a skirmish near the church, when a small force of men loyal to Robert the Bruce defeated John of Lorne, who had sworn allegiance to Edward I of England. The chapel contains a small fragment of bone from Bruce’s tomb in Dunfermline Abbey. The waters of Loch Cruachan, high on Ben Cruachan above Loch Awe, have been harnessed for one of the most ambitious hydroelectric schemes in Scotland. 

Not only does the Cruachan Power Station produce electricity from the waters of Loch Cruachan as they tumble down through pipes into its turbines and then into Loch Awe, it can actually pump 120 tons of water a second from Loch Awe back up the pipes towards Loch Cruachan by putting the turbines into reverse. This it does during the night, using the excess electricity produced by conventional power stations. In this way, power is stored so that it can be released when demand is high. It was the first station in the world to use the technology, though nowadays it is commonplace. The turbine halls are in huge artificial caves beneath the mountain, 

and there is an exhibition explaining the technology. Tours are also available taking you round one of the wonders of Scottish civil engineering - one that can produce enough electricity to supply a city the size of Edinburgh. KILMELFORD 11 miles S of Oban on the A816 A Parish Church In the kirkyard of the small Parish Church, dated 1785, are some gravestones marking the burial places of people killed while making the “black porridge”. 

It was at Loch Melfort, in 1821, that one of Scotland’s most unusual weather phenomenons occurred - it rained herrings. The likeliest explanation is that the brisk south-westerly that was blowing at the time lifted the herring from the loch and deposited them on dry land. ARDUAINE 15 miles S of Oban on the A816 E Arduaine Gardens The 50-acre Arduaine Gardens (National Trust for Scotland) are situated on a southfacing slope overlooking Asknish Bay. They are another testimony to the mildness of the climate on Argyll’s coast, and have a wonderful collection of rhododendrons. 

There are also great trees, herbaceous borders and a diversity of plants from all over the world. They were laid out by James Arthur Campbell, who built a home here in 1898 and called it Arduaine, which means ‘green point’. It was acquired by the NTS in 1992. ARDANAISEIG GARDEN 14 miles E of Oban on a minor road off the B845 on the banks of Loch Awe Ardanaiseig is a large, 100-acre woodland garden with a large herbaceous border. The garden is closed from January to mid February each year. DALAVICH 13 miles SE of Oban on a minor road off the B845 on the banks of Loch Awe J Dalavich Oakwood Trail If you follow the B845 south from Taynuilt, then turn south west onto a minor road near Kilchrenan, you will eventually reach the Dalavich Oakwood Trail. 

It is a two-milelong walk laid out by the Forestry Commission, with not only oaks, but also alder, hazel, downy birch and juniper. There are also small sites where 18th- and 19thcentury charcoal burners produced charcoal for the Bonawe Iron Furnace near Taynuilt. Other woodland trails include the Timber Walk and the Loch Avich.

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